Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Victory
Sailing Date: August 31st, 2006
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Victory Cruise Review
My husband and I did the 4 day cruise to
Halifax with our 15 and 18 year old kids. We had a great time, but did feel a
bit crowded at times. This was most likely due to the unseasonably chilly
weather (65-70) for August and the rain, which kept most people off the decks
and out of the pools. Overall, this is a good cruise for the price, especially
for people traveling with children, and we would travel with Carnival again.
EMBARKATION/DEBARKATION: This was breeze in both directions. We live locally in NJ and not having to purchase air line tickets for four people was great! We could not have afforded it otherwise. The brochure and internet will tell you to board from 2 to 4 and then sailing is at 5pm. We followed the advice of some other review posters and arrived just before noon. We were signed onto the ship, given our ID cards and having a great buffet lunch within a half hour.
Disembarking was equally easy. I recommend the "self-assist" if you can manage your luggage on your own and have not exceeded your customs limits. We did this and were off the boat and through customs in no time. The distance you travel from disembark to the parking is minimal, so definitely consider carrying your own things off if you can handle it.
FOOD: The formal dining rooms are nice and the food is good, if small portioned. The wait staff was OK, but they seemed more interested in chatting up the larger groups rather than our small table for four (they are working for tips, after all!). Service took a bit longer than we would have liked and the kids were bored and still hungry, so we ate in the dining room only twice and hit the buffet and pizza/grill/deli places the other times.
The buffet is plentiful with always a carving/pasta/omelet station. The lines can get long, so try to plan on being there right before they open or about 1/2 to 1/3 of the time before they close. There is something for everyone and you will not come away hungry from the buffets - I actually preferred the lunch buffet over the dinner buffet because of the pasta station. My husband and son preferred the dinner buffet because of the meat carving stations.
There is a 24 hour pizza place which is great and a super deli. There is also a Chinese take out place, but we didn't try that and it was closed when we wanted to. The BBQ grill serves oversized burgers and hot dogs with toppings (Cheese, chili, onions) all day by the pool.
There is a coffee shop with very nice cakes, but they charge for them! I thought that was really a rip-off - as if saying we are going to feed you second rate desserts and coffee for free, but if you want to pay more, we'll give you the good stuff. People go on cruises to eat and I thought it cheesy on Carnival's part.
POOLS & JACUZZI: Because of the weather we didn't swim at all, but they seemed to always be full of blue lipped little kids. The hot tub isn't very hot at all and the temperatures given for the pools were between 69 and 71 - very chilly.
ROOMS: We had one outside room with a balcony and one inside room for the kids. We just booked one kid with each of us and then swapped when we got there so the kids shared a room. The purser's desk gave us extra key so we all get into each room. This worked out great since the kids could come use the balcony or hang out while the other showered/dressed. It is much more economical than two outside cabins.
The bedding was great - very sturdy beds and super nice comforters. The room was large enough for us be comfortable, but you have to expect a limited amount of space when you travel by boat. DON"T OVER PACK or your room will just be crowded with bags - you can use the self serve washer and dryer and wear your casual stuff twice if you need to and the amenity basket in the bathroom has nearly everything you need. Shampoo and shower gel dispensers are in the shower and the basket had toothpaste, self tan lotion, moisturizer, razors (men and women's), Emergen-C (Vitamin drink) and some other samples. We used almost everything and noticed when packing up we hardly took anything out of our "bathroom bag."
The room attendants seemed nice when we passed by in the hallway, but we really didn't interact much as we really didn't need anything. There was always ice and sodas & water in the room for us and everything was always cleaned up and set up to our satisfaction.
SHOWS: We only went to one, which was OK. One night it is guest talent night, which I thought was a little cheesy, and also we preferred to spend evenings at the casino.
CASINO: Very nice and upscale. It has nearly every video nickel slot you are used to seeing (Reel 'Em In, Frog Prince, Little Green Men, etc) and a lot of tables where the dealers are good (not rude like some smaller casino dealers can be). I was a little disappointed in the video poker as many of the machines had some of the lights out on the buttons. If you play video poker, you know why this important as it can confuse you what you have held or not. You can debit up to $1000 per day right from your room bill, which is nice but dangerous!
HALIFAX: We had a beautiful day - sunny and 75 - and did the Titanic tour and just hung around the port. Trust me! You DO NOT need to book from Carnival - everything they offer at an inflated price is walking distance from the dock. You can walk to the Titanic museum, duty free shopping, the pubs, souvenir shops, restaurants, the pirate ship, the boat tours, etc. Really...don't pay more than you have to! It is literally right there off the boat and you have 10 hours in port, so even if you have to wait for the second boat ride, for example, you will still have time.
OVERALL: There were alot of kids on the ship and the weather kept them inside a lot, which made for some crowded conditions in the common areas.
I thought the ship was great - beautiful
and clean and well staffed. They could have made some slight improvements in the
dining room with more attentive service, but overall you will not go hungry. It
is definitely child-friendly and a lot of the staff is devoted to keeping the
kids busy. If you are looking for a quiet or romantic wining and dining
experience on the ship, this is probably NOT for you. If you are looking for
something affordable for the whole family - you should give this one a try -
you'll probably have a great time.